Generative research begins

 

Emerging adults as our user group

We’ve decided to focus on “emerging adults” as our user group.

“Emerging adults” refers to a new theoretical age group similar to “teenager” or “young adult.”  Emerging adults are those who have not yet reached the common milestones of adulthood, like marriage, children, a full-time job or a house.  This New York Times article “Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?” describes this concept in greater depth.

How your social network influences your organizational approach and life trajectory

We also looked at how one’s socioeconomic class plays a part in how one learns to organize and deal with important documents. If you grew up within a social network where no one is savvy, there is no one to be a role model for you.  A 33 year old interviewee grew up poor and didn’t know until much later in life that there was such a thing as college financial aid because no one around him had even entered higher education and didn’t know about it.  Because of that, he got an associates degree he could afford and only now understands how young people pay for college with student loans. He feels he missed out on a big opportunity because no one around him explained how he could go to a 4 year college.

First Timers and Old Timers

We’ve also honed in the importance of the “first time around” aspect of the important documents arena, and how much you learn by doing.  By this we mean that the first time you encounter or acquire a new type of document, a learning curve is embedded within it and the experience of getting through that learning curve is a rich one.  Many of our users reported learning how to deal with these document and life milestones by asking questions of other people who’ve done it before.

For example, a 32 year old first-time home buyer asked many questions of her parents and co-workers when she began the home buying experience.

A 62 year old small business owner said he learned how to open and operate a small business just from being employed in one when he was young, and by asking a lot of questions.

For this reason, we’ve isolated two different groups, the “First Timers” and the “Old Timers” who are generally more savvy because they’ve been through the major life events that the “first timers” are approaching.

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